'Tired' Emmanuel Adebayor defends late return from African Cup of Nations


Emmanuel Adebayor yesterday presented a fierce defence of his attitude and claimed those who question his commitment have little understanding of the difficulties he faces.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward has always been a controversial character and has lived up to that reputation this season. There was the red card in November's north London derby, the sudden decision to play for Togo in the African Cup of Nations and his subsequent late return from the tournament in South Africa.

Even though Togo were knocked out on 3 February, Adebayor did not come back to London until late on 8 February, less than 24 hours before his side's Premier League match against Newcastle United. This left the Spurs head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, exasperated, primarily because Adebayor is currently his only fit senior striker.

Speaking for the first time about his trip back from South Africa , Adebayor told of his personal negotiations with Togo's president, Faure Gnassingbé and why he was late returning.

"I could have got a private jet to come back to London straightaway but I didn't want to abandon my team," he revealed. "As a captain, it's not a good example. I couldn't abandon the ship.

"It took four days for them to send a plane to get us out of South Africa and to Togo. It's not like it was for some other teams, whose federations sent planes to get them back to their clubs straightaway. I had to call the president of the country to tell him we had to leave. The president then wanted to see us and congratulate us for getting to the quarter-finals, so when we got back to Togo, I couldn't just jump on a plane back to London. I'm the captain, so I had to be there."

Since completing a permanent £5milllon move to Spurs last summer following a season on loan from Manchester City, Adebayor has scored just three goals.

The 28-year-old's critics suggest his intensity drops when he is in the early months of a long contract, or when he would rather be elsewhere.

Adebayor insisted this is unfair. "It's been one of the toughest seasons of my whole life," said Adebayor. "I'm not going to blame anyone but myself because I know I can do better, but you reach a point when you are tired."

Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane was present at Spurs' 1-1 draw with Lyons on behalf of Real Madrid, who have a strong interest in Gareth Bale.

The Frenchman is now a coach in Madrid's academy but is close to club president Florentino Perez and reports in Spain indicate Zidane was sent specifically to watch Bale.

Madrid are in pole position to sign Bale if he leaves in the summer but the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, would demand a fee of up to £50m for his star player.

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home